I don’t think we’re going to get agreement on this.

Condopedia credits the legislative idea for the ‘modern condominium’ to a Salt Lake City lawyer named Keith Romney (cousin of Mitt):

After studying existing co-op systems in New York and Chicago, Romney presented his client with a different idea; one that would make it possible to subdivide a building into distinct legal parcels within the same structure. The concept had long since been adopted in Europe, starting with Belgium in 1924 and spreading quickly across the continent. ..

Not sure why, having noted the origins in Europe and referred to 1958 legislation in Puerto Rico, the article then credits Utah.  Wikipedia says this:

The first condominium law passed in the United States was in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in 1958.  In 1960, the first condominium in the Continental United States was built in Salt Lake City, Utah.

However …

 … the State of Utah worked quickly to adopt Romney’s proposals in the form of condominium legislation, although they weren’t formally passed into law until 1963.

If that’s the case, then first legislation (at least in the English-speaking world) wasn’t in the U.S. but in Australia.  Specifically for this building:


The Australian Architects Institute provides the story of Blues Point Tower in Sydney on McMahon Point. (It was never much liked at the time and is still reviled today, though honored for its architect, Harry Seidler):

It was the tallest residential building in the southern hemisphere and the first high rise to be registered under the ground breaking Conveyancing (Strata Titles) Act, 1961.

‘Strata Title’ and ‘condominium’ seem to be used interchangeably, at least in BC when the “Strata Titles Act” was passed in 1966 (then “Condominium Act”, now “Strata Property Act”).

The word condominium comes from Rome, says Keith Romney.  Ancient Rome.  “He claims to have seen with his own eyes while touring ancient Roman sites in Europe. Such sites often include ancient apartment blocks – whereupon on one marble wall Romney found, literally etched in stone, the word ‘condominio’.

But I’m sure that’s disputed.



  1. Interesting graph on the frequency of use of the word condominium. Amusing that by the time the first use is acknowledged by the American-centric press, the word was already being used almost 25% as frequently as it was at its height in the 1990s. Like Columbus discovering America.


Leave a Reply to John Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *